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May 2012

It blows me away when I have dinner with people who order organic food, count their fat content and then happily light up a fag at the end of the meal. Despite the best efforts of governments, public health advocates, and even well-meaning friends, large numbers of Australians continue to choose to smoke.

If I ruled the world I would want to stub out cigarettes for good.

“The money is of course fabulous. The confidence it gives you. The friends you meet in the industry are amazing. The job itself is rather rewarding – I help people through break-ups, I help those with disabilities, I help people with mental health problems, and generally help with loneliness.”

That’s the view of London, a 22-year-old student at the University of Western Australia. As student work goes, her job sounds ideal – far removed from the drudgery of bar work or babysitting. But read the same words again with the knowledge that London (not her real name) is a sex worker and it doesn’t quite add up.

It’s a joke. A pointless exercise contrived by the government of the day in an attempt to spin itself out of whatever black hole it’s managed to fall into. I should clarify.

Every year the federal government hands down a budget in May. It’s a critical process of governing in Australia because it involves passing what are called “supply bills” – legislation that allows the government to collect and spend revenue. That’s one part of it.

With a campus that has been under redevelopment for the last two years, the College of Fine Art is set to open its new doors as Gateway@COFA in March 2013. But at what cost has this been to students?

With complaints from students that the university has been “misleading” and reports of “low morale” on the campus, Tharunka spoke with COFA’s Dean, Ian Howard, to attempt to gain some answers.